The duke and duchess of Sussex — also known as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle — have announced that they will step back from their duties as senior members of the British royal family.

The couple, who welcomed a son in May 2019, say they intend to become financially independent. Harry is sixth in the line of succession to the British throne, after his father Charles, his older brother William, and William's three children.

In a statement on their website and Instagram, Harry and Meghan explained their decision.

"After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution," they wrote. "We intend to step back as 'senior' members of the Royal Family, and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen. It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment."

They say they plan to split their time the United Kingdom and North America, "continuing to honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages."

"This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity."

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